Looking gorgeous isn’t just about makeup and skincare. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before but it’s true! Your body LITERALLY heals itself while you are sleeping. It’s not just a reset button for your mind but for your whole body.
While you sleep, your body re-balances fluids and hydrates tissues that need it. It removes toxins for elimination and balances hormonal levels. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t complete these processes and you end up with puffy skin and bags under your eyes.
Some of us struggle to fall asleep and stay that way because of busy schedules or stress. Here are a few simple ways to sleep well naturally.
Spots are also a nasty little side-effect of not getting enough sleep. Ever had a breakout on Monday after a crazy weekend?
1. Go to bed and get up at around the same time every day:
This regulates your body clock which means that your body expects to go to sleep at a specific time and wake up at a specific time. It will simply become a habit and the human brain loves a good sleep habit.
2. Create a relaxing bedtime ritual:
You should start “winding down” at least 30 minutes before bedtime. You want to turn down the lights and put your phone or other gadgets on silent unless you want to use them to listen to music. Phones mimic sunlight and our brains interpret light as “time to be awake”. A relaxing stress-free ritual performed every night will signal the brain that it’s time for bed and sleep.
As part of your ritual you could:
- Take a relaxing bath or shower.
- Moisturise your face and body.
- Set out the clothes you would like to wear the next day.
- Put any washing, books or other objects away where they belong. It’s so much nicer to wake up to a tidy space.
- Make a list of the tasks you need to do the next day so you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything during the night.
- Write in your journal or read while sipping a cup of water.
- Listen to music
3. Create a restful sleep environment
Your bedroom should be like your sleep sanctuary. Train your mind and body to associate your bed with sleeping only. (well sort of…) It should be the place where you rest, not where you work or watch TV.
Your bedding should be warm enough but not so heavy that you overheat.
The room itself should also be quite cool. Around 18-20’C. If you can sleep with a slightly open window, even better. You need fresh air while you sleep.
Your bedroom should be as dark as possible when the lights are off. If there is always a little light coming in from outside you can try a sleep mask.
4. No TV in bed
Just like your other gadgets, your TV’s flickering light signals the brain to stay awake. Even if you do fall asleep with the TV on, your brain is still engaged by the sound and light. Try reading instead. Commit to reading a certain number of pages or at least one chapter every night.
5. If you can’t fall asleep at night, don’t nap!
If you struggle to fall asleep at night, it’s best not to nap late in the afternoon or early evening. According to this article on verywell, your body produces a chemical called adenosine that encourages the body to go to sleep and rest. This is called sleep drive. If you nap for a prolonged period of time or too close to bedtime, the level of adenosine is reduced in the body and you are less likely to fall asleep when you go to bed. Welcome to the wonderful world of staring at the ceiling.
6. Exercise during the day:
It will energise you during the day and flood your brain with feel-good hormones. You will also burn off excess energy. It’s not a great idea to exercise just before bed though. Stretches and relaxing yoga can be great for sleep but resistance training or cardio floods the body with hormones and chemicals that can keep you awake. Keep it low key.
7. Don’t go to bed on a full stomach:
Try to have your final meal at least two to three hours before you go to bed. Sugary foods can produce energy highs and lows that affect your sleep patterns. Going to bed on a full stomach can also be uncomfortable. During sleep your body works to eliminate toxins and renew tissues, it doesn’t need to divert energy to digest the cookies you ate ten minutes before bed.
8. Easy on the caffeine:
Don’t drink coffee after 3PM. Stimulants will disrupt your sleeping pattern and keep you awake. Coffee is not the only offender. Energy drinks and teas that contain caffeine will also keep you staring at the ceiling.
Try chamomile or fruit teas in the evening. Rooibos tea from South Africa is also caffeine free and full of antioxidants.
9. Go to bed properly hydrated
Don’t eat before bed but drink enough water to be well hydrated. A cup is usually enough, you don’t want to run to the bathroom every five minutes. If you do wake up during the night, take a few sips of water. Drink at least another cup when you wake up to help kick-start your brain.
10. Meditation or deep breathing exercises before sleep:
There are several guided meditations to help you fall asleep. The simplest is to lie in your bed and breathe slowly, thinking about relaxing every part of your body from your toes to your scalp. Concentrate on slowing your heart beats down with every slow breath.
Try not to think about work or what you need to do the next day. Do that as part of your preparation for bed. Keep a notebook next to your bed and write down anything you think of so that you don’t lie awake worrying about what you might forget.
That is how you train your mind and body to go to sleep when it’s told. Your under eye bags will thank you and so will your brain.